A SCHOOLGIRL from Widnes is raising money to build a school for underprivileged children in Nepal.

Lara Cook, from Foxley Heath, is making the trip with members of the Cheshire Fire Cadets, which she has been a part of for four years.

And the 16-year-old says she is honoured to be given the opportunity to represent the group.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected to travel with other Cheshire Fire Cadets and leaders to Nepal in the autumn of 2020,” said the Wade Deacon High School pupil.

“The new school will make a real difference to children's lives for generations to come.

“This opportunity will provide me with new life skills, and I will be able to experience first-hand how people live in a third world country.”

Lara has recently been promoted to from Cheshire Fire Cadets Station Manager to Chief Fire Cadet, which is a massive achievement for somebody of that age.

“I attend fire cadets at Widnes Fire Station every Wednesday where I have made some great friends and have loads of fun,” she said.

“We learn all about what it means to be a firefighter and make a positive impact on the community.

“I’ve been able to get involved in charity events like bag packs, fire station open days, car washes and sometimes work alongside other charities like the Widnes Rotary Club.”

She has also learned some valuable life skills through these events.

“On Fire Cadet nights, we learn about fire safety and how to keep myself and others safe,” said the 16-year-old.

“We do this by understanding hazards, learning about risks and we have also been taught basic first aid, so we know how to help people in an emergency.

“In Cadets we also see what important skills firefighters do, the equipment they use, and how they help others.”

Lara has now started fundraising for her trip to Nepal, with the project working alongside the Classrooms for Clouds charity to build a much-needed school for children in the Basa region.

The charity supports education in the country by building schools, helping with employment and the professional development of teachers.

Since being set up in 2006, the charity has built 60 classrooms, eight libraries and gender-specific toilets in rural and remote areas of Nepal.

Current statistics show that over 70% of males and almost 45% of females do not have any form of education, particularly after the devastating earthquake which struck the region in April 2015.

“This is an amazing and worthwhile cause that will help and improve the lives of many Nepali children,” said the Foxley Heath native.

“During this trip I will be helping add the finishing touches to the school before presenting it to the local community.

“Any contribution people could give us, no matter how big or small, would be greatly appreciated.”

Cheshire Fire Cadets are hoping to raise enough money to build the school, fit it with furniture and cover their flights to the country.

Each cadet has a target of raising £3600, which would go a long way to hitting their £70,000 overall goal.

To reach her contribution, Lara intends to carry out regular car boot and bake sales, run stalls at the Vintage Rally and Fire Station open days as well as bag packing and car washes.

She has already raised £810 and any donations can be made on her GoFundMe page.